So I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of Jay’s death and I’m pleased to report that I’m digging out of the crater I’ve been laying shellshocked in after the last round of PTSD. The block last June wasn’t sufficient for lots of reasons. And because of that — and because I was really slow to recognize that I wasn’t just experiencing hard grief but had actually been re-triggered — I had a tough fall and winter. But in January, I went back to Chicago and this time, Dr. Lipov administered a Pulse Radiofrequency Stellate Ganglion Block to the C3 and C6 vertebrae. The five previous blocks I’d had before were single injections of anesthetic (Klonidine and I can’t remember what else) to the C6. The difference being that the standard SGB lasts about a day verses three months for the PRF version. And the double injection seems to do a complete reboot of the amygdala by coming at it from two parts of the brain. I’ve noticed a big, big difference in the new block. I’m clearer and more focused than I’ve felt in years. If ever.
That said, it’s quite a crater. Jay’s loss was the hardest of them all. For those of you watching from home, it’s been dark ride that’s culminated in a bunch of losses spread out over a rather short time. Four parents. A nephew. A best friend. Added to young twins. And for a while, a dayjob on top of a writing career. So there have been a lot of these impact craters going back to my book deal with Tor at the end of 2007. But I started getting the blocks in 2011 and I’ve had six now. I’ve noticed with each that the length of time that the car alarm is switched “off” is giving me more and more of a foothold as I untangle the knots. And after each block, it’s usually about 3-4 months before I’m functioning fully. The symptoms go away within ten minutes of the procedure but there’s a lot of exhaustion and then a lot of stuff to process — basically, any of the normal feelings that I couldn’t process because PTSD was the only sheriff in town then have to be sorted out. And then the light comes on and things click into place.
And now I’m digging out again. Both at work and in my chaos-cluttered house. And feeling good overall. You may have noticed some activity here on the website. I’m a big technophobicluddite so updating the site and doing the basic maintenance stuff is like pulling teeth with me. But I’m getting shit done. I just got the Ken on the Web section current so go check that out if you’d like to see some stories or songs. I’m still fighting through tech support quicksand to get JetPack working properly. But I’m on it. I’m also listening to the Psalms of Isaak thanks to Audible and Macmillan’s brilliant audio work. I’m in Canticle now and I’m pushing through the first four books one last time to get caught back up in it and push out the last half of Hymn this summer. I’m feeling really confident about it. I’ve got a few short stories to tackle while I do this readthrough and then my decks will be cleared for finishing the book. I’m flowing nicely.
I’m also strategizing around my Great Diversification Plan and I think I’m ready to take my “Muse Management and Production in the Story Factory” workshop on the road. I’ve test driven it as a Clarion West one day workshop and it’s really portable. I will start looking for places within driving distance initially but by continuing to integrate my writing life and my music life, I should be able to increase my income through clusters of teaching, singing and writing revenue. Which of course also means finally doing the legwork to get an album Kickstarted. People have been asking for CDs for a long time now. Blow into town, teach a workshop, play a gig, do a reading, talk to a classroom, research a story. Sounds like a dream.
So I’m doing well. I anticipate being finished with Hymn this summer. After that, I’m not sure what’s next. But I’m excited to find out.
PTSD is horrible stuff. If you or someone you love is suffering from it there are tools and treatments out there. And Lipov’s work is really promising. You can learn more about it at Chicago Medical Innovations. And check out the Ken On PTSD page here on the website for my video “Silence of the Chattering Head Monkeys.”
Thanks for hanging in there with me during those cratering times. It’s good to be back. Now where’s my shovel?